Sunday, May 27, 2007

Barbeque with the In-Laws

My in-laws came into town to see the new house on Sunday so we decided to have a BBQ to celebrate. We haven't grilled on our own before and a new grill was purchased at Lowe's for the occasion. We stick to regular old charcoal, and made a Memorial Day BBQ of fantastic proportions.

The menu:

1. Potato Salad
2. "Middle Eastern" salad-cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, parsley + paul newman light balsamic vinaigrette
3. Premio Brats
4. Hot dogs
5. Awesome BBQ steak-marinade was awesome and only for three hours--7 minutes per side and we are golden.
6. Corn on the cob
7. Watermelon

I was quite pleased. One thing I'm quite proud of is that I made three of the things from scratch, and that everything turned out quite yummy. I foresee more BBQ's in the future.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Menu for the Week

Sunday: Sausages and Rice with Salad and Fried eggs over easy. This is a simple supper that is satisfying. We had to add the salad to move away from the unhealthy white rice and fatty protein combo. Salad makes everything more nutritious and less guilt inducing.

Monday: Honey dijon salmon, risotto and asparagus. Trader Joe's premarinated salmon. Chris accidentally put it in the freezer. Hope it's ok.

Tuesday: Mystics game at the Verizon Center. These are free tickets. Much consumption of overpriced food articles anticipated.

Wednesday: Spam Fried Rice

Thursday: Perhaps we will eat out as there is a big show at the school that night. If not, leftovers and I will make quesedillas and tomato soup.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Eating Out

Of course in addition to cooking I like to eat out quite a bit. Where have we been eating? I know you're dying to know.

For Mother's Day Chris took me to get a dozen crabs at Bethesda Crab House. We ate outdoors, we had corn, a dozen mediums (all that were left by the time we called, and thank goodness we did as they are ALWAYS running out--they even ran out of CORN). It was delicious and oh so filling. I think the mediums are good for us, because it was the first time we actually finished the entire dozen. It was a wonderful date.

I also had a jonesing for Vietnamese food. Since the move we are incredibly far away from the mecca of Vietnamese food in the DC area, Eden Center. So we drove in from work one night since I had to work late anyway. We went to Huong Que (or Four Sisters) Vietnamese Restaurant where I ordered the standard Pork Ribs in Clay Pot and Chris got the vermicelli rice noodles with grilled pork and crispy spring roll. We started with the Crispy Spring Roll and it's always so flavorful and good. It's like the best egg roll you've ever had. It's all pork and just the right amount of filler with this awesome dipping sauce. The sauce is lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and water but it may as well replace crack on the black market because it is completely addictive. I bought a bottle for my house for when I have the Trader joe's Coconut Curry Stix.

Just a note about Trader Joe's...Where are my Pork Gyoza???? Apparently the factory that manufactured them in Thailand shut down suddenly.

After we get the Vietnamese food we always stop over at Song Que for some bubble tea and banh mi. I get the ham and pate banh mi for lunch the next day and hence two cravings are quenched in one trip. Why are there no places in Maryland that make these damned sandwiches? This trip I got the pineapple bubble tea and it was very sweet but also tart and had some pineapple pulp in there. MMmm, citrusy.

Finally, last night we went for Dosai at Woodlands Indian Restaurant. This was our first time at Woodlands, and the first time I have had dosai in the three years since leaving Atlanta, when we would go to Udipi Cafe all the time for this flavorful potatoey treat. Now just like there are a dearth of good Vietnamese restaurants in MD, there was a huuge hole of great Southern Indian restaurants in Northern VA. Now we're in MD and we can go to Woodlands and get the Butter Masala Dosai all the time. We also tried the Madhu Vada, which are donuts made from lentils and flour. They taste like savory donuts. They come with the two standard dipping sauces, sambar and coconut chutney. The sambar is like a thin flavorful curry sauce which is warm, and the coconut chutney is grated coconut and spices served cool. The dosai itself was really flavorful and exactly how I remembered it. I don't know if there's a formal way of eating the dosai, but I just tear pieces of the crepe off the edge, stuff it with potato, dip it in one of the sauces and pick my way through it. Even though the mound of potato looks so small, appropriate crepe to potato rationing will get you through the meal. Gorgeous!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


How do you make something that usually takes hours of flavors skillfully combining together easily in 30 minutes?

Use a crockpot.


I have used this recipe with great success in the last few years. Whenever I want jambalaya i just use this. It's spicy, it's meaty, it's delicious. I always use a polish kielbasa (sorry purists) rather than andouille. What is andouille. Where can I find it. Why does it scare me? Perhaps it will stand up to the slowcooker, as the kielbasa always turns out a little mealy.

The spices are perfectly spicy for me, but that is a bit spicy. Not knock your socks off, but 1 tsp of cayenne goes a long way. I add a cup of minute rice at the end. This is not the perfect solution, but my goodness, Jambalaya needs RICE. I also put in raw shrimp at the end, not cooked (what is the point of that? The shrimps cooks in about 15 minutes in the slow cooker and it's a lot more tender than chewy pre-cooked shrimp).

The friends all liked it, and most importantly I liked it and there were no leftovers. This makes a lot so that was a good thing.

Butter Chicken and Imitation Imitation Crab Bisque

I did not use imitation crab for the imitation Imitation Crab Bisque. This bisque combines two canned soup and some imitation crab to make some imitation bisque. It's not bisque. It's just two cans of soup and some milk with a can of crab meat in it. Do NOT use imitation crab. That's just pointless. It's probably easier to find the damn can of crab. You've already got the can opener out.
You can add various spices (the recipe recommends a pinch of curry powder). I also added a bit of cayenne. It tastes like a passable bisque at a crappy sandwich place. It's incredibly easy to make and hence I may make it again.

The butter chicken recipe is pretty ingenious. A few simple ingredients and a rotisserie chicken and you have some delicious Indian fake-out take-out. I love this stuff. It's got a kick, it tastes pretty close to real butter chicken, and the flavor of the rotisserie chicken is so good in this sauce. I do not do the step where they take the chicken out before adding the peas and cream. That would be lame.